When you see a gray-haired person clinging to the few possessions they have and wandering the streets, it is because they are trying to find shelter, a safe place to sleep and something to eat.
Among Hawai‘i’s houseless population, there are aging persons unable to live in safe and healthy environments. Regardless of the particular circumstances that got them in this situation, aging and houselessness are not compatible — it is simply not an acceptable state of being for any senior. So when you see an older person who is in need, consider the status of their welfare with compassion and without judgement:
• Is this person lost due to dementia?
• Do they have an untreated medical condition?
• Are they approachable?
• If so, what can I do to help?
Supporting organizations that provide resources to houseless persons is a great way to help. Specialists at Aloha United Way 211, Hawai‘i’s only statewide helpline, connect those in need to resources and emergency assistance. Depending on location and need, they are trained to find resources that people in need can utilize right away.
Call 2-1-1 or 877-275-6569 and ask how you can make a difference.